Agency uses Sibling’s Day to promote need for foster care families

MILWAUKEE -- April 10 was a day to honor a special group of family members – siblings.  A Milwaukee agency used "National Sibling’s Day" to promote the need for foster families.

St. Aemilian-Lakeside is looking for committed parents who can take in brothers and sisters together.

“My mom had taken in kids when I was young, and it just seemed like a natural thing to do, to have kids in our home,” Stacie Nikolaus, who’s been a foster parent for 16 years said. Nikolaus has taken in 26 children so far. Nikolaus is married and has a daughter of her own. "She's 11, so she's never known not having siblings," Nikolaus said.

In the last six months, she's taken in an 18-year-old and two 13-year-old twins and said she wouldn't have it any other way. “They were more comfortable quicker, than sometimes when you have an individual come.  They had each other, to still have that continuity in their lives, so they still have the person they hung out with,” Nikolaus said.

“When a child is removed from their family of origin, their whole world is disrupted.  Keeping them with siblings gives them that anchor, that security, and we're looking for folks to give them a chance to heal together,” Melissa Dombrowski-Boling, the foster care coordinator at St. Aemilian-Lakeside said. The agency pairs children with foster parents.

In Milwaukee County alone, at least 50 percent of the 1,200 kids in the foster care system are in sibling groups.  The goal is to pair them up with committed parents without splitting them up. “Do whatever you can to help these kids succeed in life. They need that opportunity,” Nikolaus said.

If you'd like to become a foster parent, you can call St. Aemilian-Lakeside at (855) GROW-HOPE or click here.